Project Rooftop 2013 – Montreal
Project Rooftop 2012 – Ottawa
Project Rooftop 2013 – Montreal
After I completing Project Rooftop Ottawa in March 2013 I knew I’d accomplished something cool – I’d thoroughly photographed my hometown and done it in a way that allowed visitors to ‘explore’ the city as they pleased. What I didn’t quite expect was the popularity of it.
The project received press coverage, it was linked up to dozens of other sites, my monthly website traffic shot into the thousands – crashing my site – and my inbox had a regular stream of emails telling me that people liked what they saw. So I did what any industrious photographer would do…a sequel.
Going into Project Rooftop version 2.0 I really wanted to understand a little more about how this kind of photography can be applied to larger scale projects and I hoped to work through a few things that I didn’t like about the first one. I basically wanted four things – a bigger city, taller buildings, more buildings and to have a little fun. After a great deal of work I got all of them.
Montreal just happens to be ‘down the street’ from Ottawa and is one of North America’s very finest metropolises – a true architectural goldmine – so I knew it would be the place to go. I focused on the zone within Atwater, Sherbrooke, Berri and the St. Laurence River and I began the slow, laborious process of researching locations and contacting people. Slowly the yeses came in and by early June I had enough to commit myself to the project.
Having never organized much more than a birthday party, this project was an enormous undertaking. I had much work to do on a very tight schedule and an even tighter budget. I arrived in Montreal in mid-July and left six weeks later after having taken the architectural tour of a lifetime. Aside from one stolen bike, a hacked website and few rain days the project went off without any major problems.
The final tour has 60 buildings – many of which had never allowed anyone on their roofs before – and I believe that a collection of images like this can be both a rich resource for academics and the general public to look back on one place in 2013 decades from now. Much of my motivation was the idea that future generations somewhere are rooting me on.
All that being said a project this big and crazy doesn’t happen without a great deal of help and support from others. At the top of the list, as always, are my executive producers Walter and Ineke and after them are the many companies and individuals who graciously offered me a little time on their buildings.
Ahern Real Estate Corporation Inc.
Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP
Centre Universitaire de Santé McGill
École de Technologie Supérieure
Gestion Georges Coulombe Inc.
Gestion Immobilére Dundee
Gestion Immobilière Wilkar Inc.
Gestion Kennedy Management
Groupe Canvar Inc.
Le Château Apts
Les YMCA du Québec
Phénix Notre Dame
Polaris Realty (Canada) Limited
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Société immobilière du Canada | Canada Lands Company
St Paul Hotel
Université du Québec à Montréal
University Services McGill University
Square Victoria Immobilière
Y des femmes de Montréal (YWCA Montreal)
These kind folks are both proud Montrealers and supporters of the arts. If you see them take some time out of your day and thank them. I think we’ve done something special here.
Thanks for looking and welcome to Montreal.
Dan. (February 2014)
Project Rooftop 2012 – Ottawa
(a.k.a. The Batman tour of Ottawa.)
I’ve always dreamed big, often too big, but every so often the planets align and one of my crazy ideas becomes reality. The summer of 2012 was one of those times.
After a decade of climbing mountains around the world, seeing strange new places and learning a little about photography I found myself back in Ottawa. Partially out of curiosity, partially because of the challenge it presented to me, partially out of a newfound respect for my hometown and partially out of circumstance, I spent the summer of 2012 in Ottawa shooting panoramas from the rooftops of any building I could talk my way onto.
Project Rooftop is the result.
Today Ottawa remains very similar to the city that I grew up in, but intensification, the introduction of light rail and steady population growth are slowly changing it into a new and different 21st century city. As someone who spends much time looking at historical photos, I decided that I would document my city as best as I could before 2012’s Ottawa disappears into something else.
I focused on the downtown core – any structure over 5 stories within the Queensway, Bronson, Ottawa River and Rideau Canal area was fair game – and going in I assumed that it would be a fairly straight forward project.
I was wrong. The process became a months long, full-time job that saw me emailing, calling and ultimately knocking on the doors of hundreds of buildings before wrapping-up the project with 35 individual images taken from 32 buildings.
The shooting ran between April and September 2012 and post-production took place in early months of 2013. Aside from those along the western edge of the zone (Bronson Ave.), I took pains to shoot each rooftop at approximately the same time (10 a.m.) to keep light as consistent as possible.
While getting access to roofs was difficult, the weather co-operated nicely. Ottawa experienced a warm, dry summer with nearly no rain and little haze. This allowed a nice constancy in the images and I rarely had to inconvenience my hosts with rescheduling.
I don’t think that anyone has done anything like this before, certainly not on this scale, and I did my best to cover the entire city as best as I could. For me Project Rooftop are the photos that I wish someone had taken of Manhattan, London, Tokyo or any other great modern city 100 years ago. Nothing would make me happier than to know that decades from now people look back at these pictures in the same way that today I look at photos of other bygone eras.
This project would not have happened without the kindness and cooperation of those who graciously offered me access to their roofs. I send my deepest thanks to my executive producers -Walter and Ineke – and to all those organizations who took a risk and supported an unknown local guy with a whacky idea by allowing me to run around on their roofs for a short while in the summer of 2012.
20 Vic Management Inc.
Bridgeport Realty Management
Brookfield Office Properties
Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation
Canadian Museum of Nature
Glenview Management Ltd.
H&R Property Management Ltd.
Homestead Land Holdings
Morguard Investments Ltd.
Ottawa YMCA YWCA
Ottawa Community Housing
PSAC Holdings Ltd.
The City Of Ottawa
The Westin Ottawa
The Sheraton Ottawa
University of Ottawa (Physical Resources Service)
Thanks for looking and welcome to Ottawa.
Dan. (March 2013)